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British conspiracy theorists setting fire to cell towers out of mistaken belief they cause COVID-19

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Boris Johnson (Tolga AKMEN AFP)

On Monday, The New York Times reported that conspiracy theorists in Britain are setting fire to 5G cell towers, out of a paranoid belief these towers are responsible for the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Across Britain, more than 30 acts of arson and vandalism have taken place against wireless towers and other telecom gear this month, according to police reports and a telecom trade group. In roughly 80 other incidents in the country, telecom technicians have been harassed on the job,” wrote Adam Satariano and Davey Alba. “The attacks were fueled by the same cause, government officials said: an internet conspiracy theory that links the spread of the coronavirus to an ultrafast wireless technology known as 5G. Under the false idea, which has gained momentum in Facebook groups, WhatsApp messages and YouTube videos, radio waves sent by 5G technology are causing small changes to people’s bodies that make them succumb to the virus.”

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“The false theory linking 5G to the coronavirus has been especially prominent, amplified by celebrities like John Cusack and Woody Harrelson on social media,” continued the report. “It has also been stoked by a vocal anti-5G contingent, who have urged people to take action against telecom gear to protect themselves.” Cusack and Harrelson have since deleted their tweets, but the conspiracy theory continues to spread.

“The idea has deep internet roots,” said the report. “An analysis by The New York Times found 487 Facebook communities, 84 Instagram accounts, 52 Twitter accounts, and dozens of other posts and videos pushing the conspiracy. The Facebook communities added nearly half a million new followers over the past two weeks. On Instagram, a network of 40 accounts nearly doubled its audience this month to 58,800 followers.”

“After the British government issued shelter-in-place orders on March 23, some conspiracy theorists commented that it was a trick to secretly build 5G masts out of public view,” said the report. “On April 2, in one of the first 5G-coronavirus incidents, telecom equipment in a neighborhood of Belfast in Northern Ireland was set ablaze, according to local officials.”

British politicians have roundly condemned the attacks, and police in several cities are investigating.

You can read more here.

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2020 Election

Trump can ‘rage from the balcony’ but he ‘will not succeed’: Dem super lawyer promises to protect the vote

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President Donald Trump has a lot of options available to him when it comes to his attempt to steal the election. That doesn't mean they'll work, however.

In an interview with Democratic "super-lawyer" Bob Bauer, "The Circus's" John Heilemann listed a few scenarios for Trump trying to steal the election.

"We already have an electoral infrastructure -- a voting system -- that is not always adequately resourced or supported," Bauer explained. "You take that system, you layer on top of it a pandemic, you lay on top of that destructive behavior by one of the major political parties who espouses this kind of nonsense, and you add on top of that the internet-distributed misinformation plays, and that just means that the task that you have to address these contingencies is much larger than it's been as a structural matter any time in the past."

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2020 Election

Will American elections ever again be legitimate?

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Only an established, legal “right to vote“ can defeat Republican voter suppression.

Republican politicians and conservative commentators are shocked, shocked! that Chief Justice John Roberts would say that people who voted before election day in Pennsylvania but their ballots were delayed by Lewis DeJoy’s sabotage of the Post Office should have their vote counted.

Increasingly, this election is coming down to the simple question of how effective 40 years of concerted Republican voter suppression efforts will be.

Their main strategy, particularly since George and Jeb Bush got together in 2000 to use a Texas felon list to purge 90,000 Black people off voting roles in Florida, has been removing the names of people who are legitimate voters.

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2020 Election

Melania Trump cancels appearance at Pennsylvania rally due to ‘lingering cough’

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First Lady Melania Trump has cancelled an appearance at a Pennsylvania rally with President Donald Trump due to her ongoing COVID-19 symptoms.

The first lady was slated to travel with the president on Tuesday to her first rally since receiving the COVID-19 diagnosis.

"Mrs. Trump continues to feel better every day following her recovery from COVID-19, but with a lingering cough, and out of an abundance of caution, she will not be traveling today," a statement from the First Lady's Office said.

CONFIRMED: Melania Trump will no longer accompany her husband to PA tonight, per her spokeswoman: "Mrs. Trump continues to feel better every day following her recovery from COVID-19, but with a lingering cough, and out of an abundance of caution, she will not be traveling today."

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